Wrongful Death? A Mother Seeks Justice for Traffic Accident That Took the Life of Her Son
Posted on Sep 4, 2018 in Personal Injury, Traffic, Wrongful Death
A recent story from The Advocate covered the struggles of a mother seeking legal ramifications after her son was stuck andkilled by a car last year in New Orleans. Jason Ruscigno was attempting to cross the street near the Riverwalk when he was plowed down by a car driven by Corey Johnson.
Johnson was cited for driving without a license and running a red light. There have been no further charges levied against him. Prosecutors say they are still investigating the case, citing a discrepancy on the color of the light as one of the deciding factors.
During an interview with the police immediately following the accident, Johnson claimed the light had been yellow when he passed through the intersection, and therefore he had the right of way. His claim was substantiated by the testimonies of the other two passengers in his vehicle at the time of the accident. Three nearby pedestrian witnesses who were also interviewed contradicted Johnson and his passengers. They claimed the light had been red.
The death of a loved one is a devastating event no matter the circumstances. Our heart goes out to Miss Ruscigno for her loss. Particularly when a loved one is taken in such a tragic and unexpected fashion, one can be left seeking answers and closure.
Wrongful death claims allow individuals to seek financial retribution for the death of a loved one due to negligence or wrongdoing. Wrongful death cases can only be pursued by the immediate family of the deceased—usually a parent, spouse, or sibling. Each state is different, however, so consult with an experienced attorney to get the particulars.
Much like other personal injury cases, wrongful death claims can provide compensation for practical expenses like funeral costs and medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. These latter damages—including things such as trauma, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life—are harder to quantify, since they don’t have fixed monetary values.
Is Miss Ruscigno liable for financial compensation under a wrongful death claim? As of right now, it’s hard to say. According to the article, her attorneys have gathered and presented evidence about Johnson and his two passengers in an attempt to encourage authorities to prosecute. This includes evidence that the car Johnson was driving was attained under questionably legal terms, as well as the violent background of one of Johnson’s passengers.
While this evidence certainly raises some red flags, it’s hard to say what—if any—direct impact it had on the traffic incident that took the life of Jason Ruscigno. Even if Johnson and/or his passengers can be shown to have committed wrongdoing, it is only relevant in a wrongful death case if it can be shown to have directly resulted in Ruscigno’s unfortunate death.
A Glimmer of Hope
All may not be lost for Miss Ruscigno, however. As the police conducted interviews following the accident, one of Johnson’s passengers took dispute with another witness, who was claiming that the light had been red. Police body cam footage caught the passenger, Whitney Alexander, retorting, “Let the camera do the talking, bruh.”
He was referring, of course, to the traffic cameras trained on nearly every intersection in New Orleans. Indeed, it seems, if the camera footage could be procured, perhaps the red light / yellow light debate could finally be solved. If the light was indeed red and Johnson sped through it anyways, then a prosecutor is going to have a pretty strong case for negligence and wrongdoing on his part.
So the question becomes where is this footage? How does one get eyes on it? If the traffic cameras are indeed intended to make our city safer, then it seems like this would be a perfectly relevant instance to put them to use. It’s been over a year since Jason Ruscigo’s life was tragically taken, and still no one has seen the surveillance tape. Ostensibly, citizens are supposed to be able to access this footage, so what’s the hold up? Where’s the disconnect? That, dear reader, is the million dollar question.
In the meantime, we wish Miss Ruscigno only the best, and hope that she finds the peace and closure she is looking for.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bloom Legal
Have you or someone you know been hurt in a traffic accident? Has the life of a loved one been taken due to negligence or wrongdoing? You may be entitled to compensation, and Bloom Legal can help. Our experienced, compassionate attorneys know that the ramifications of an accident or injury can be far-reaching and life-altering. We will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve, so that you can get back to your life as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Contact us today for a free consultation.